The ‘Adult’ Way to Date: a Gchat with Kelly Williams Brownby Chiara Atik on May 07, 2013
Chiara Atik is HowAboutWe’s writer in residence. Her book, Modern Dating: A Field Guide, is now available. For the next few weeks, she’ll be discussing topics from the book with bloggers, journalists, comedians, and other people with lots of opinions on dating. This week is Kelly Williams Brown, author of Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, which you can read an excerpt of here.
So excited for this Geech.
Sent at 2:05 PM on Monday
Kelly: Geech! Yes! That was actually my friend Andy’s invention. It’s pronounced with a ‘j’ sound.
Me: Love it
okay, here’s what I want to geech about with you:
Sent at 2:06 PM on Monday
ASKING PEOPLE OUT
Me: In your book, you state very clearly that if you want to know if someone is interested in you, you HAVE to ask them out.
And this goes for men and women.
I agree with this ten thousand percent
but asking people out — for both men and women — is TERRIFYING!
Sent at 2:07 PM on Monday
Kelly: Oh my God, it’s the MOST terrifying. Maybe more terrifying than the idea of spiders the size of minivans, even.
But yeah. It’s really fun to be in that “Does he liiiike me? I WILL PARSE EVERY SINGLE THING HE’S EVER SAID TO ME AD NAUSEUM UNTIL MY FRIENDS HATE ME” stage.
Sent at 2:08 PM on Monday
But eventually it’s not fun anymore. You really need to know.
And it feels like your world will crumble if you ask them out and they say no. And yes, for 24 hours you will probably feel super bummed.
But … that time will pass. And then you are free to go find a new crush, whose words you can then parse, except maybe this one will be into you.
Me: Isn’t it so much easier to just continually send ambiguous messages and then make HIM do the work?
Sent at 2:09 PM on Monday
Kelly: No, I mean obviously that is much easier. But it’s probably less likely to end up with you dating him.
Me: I find myself doing that sometimes. Like, “Oh, I’ll just send him a link to this article, and then he’ll get the hint and ask me out.”
I think guys have…gotten way way worse about asking girls out?
Sent at 2:10 PM on Monday
More and more it seems to be that ladies have to take things into their own hands. They’re PRETTY confident the guy is interested but in the end they’re the ones who have to take the reins, at least for that initial date
Sent at 2:11 PM on Monday
Kelly: Yeah — I mean, I think everyone is worse about actually declaring their intentions. Everything is so fuzzy, and it’s so easy to slide into this gchat a lot/maybe talk more often during group social events/maaaaayyyyybbbbbeeee someday drunkenly make out at a party.
Me: ha yes!
Sent at 2:12 PM on Monday
Kelly: There isn’t really much reason for dudes to be straightforward. But that’s OK. Like, we are not going to resolve the casual-ization (is that a word? Could it be?) via complaining to each other on geech. Better to just go ahead and ask them out.
Casual-ization of dating, that is.
Sent at 2:13 PM on Monday
Me: Yes! We need to band together against the forces of Casual-ization and force (ourselves/our crushes) out on dates!
I completely agree.
Kelly: Dates are the best!
Kelly: Get pretty, head out to dinner, walk around a park. No big!
Me: So what’s the best way to ask someone out?
I’m all about email.
Sent at 2:14 PM on Monday
Kelly: Hrm. Well, I think in a perfect world you’d do it face-to-face or on the phone, but that is TERRIFYING.
Me: And I’ve actually gotten asked out on Facebook quite a bit, which people frown upon, but I’ve never minded
I hate the phone, I wouldn’t want to call someone to ask them out, or have them call me
Kelly: I don’t mind it, because it feels lower-stakes. Although if you ask someone out online, you WILL compulsively refresh your inbox every 0.025 seconds until you hear back.
Sent at 2:15 PM on Monday
Me: Ha no what I do is IMMEDIATELY start watching something on Netflix and I don’t LET myself check my email for at least 25 minutes. I try to will myself into forgetting I just emailed.
A watched inbox never chimes.
Kelly: Ha! I do the same thing! I even play this game with myself
Sent at 2:16 PM on Monday
Where I’m like, “OK, if I don’t check for…42 minutes, then God will smile on my patience and reward me with the reply I want.”
Me: It sort of works!
I think, OFTEN
Kelly: I think it does! I choose to believe it does.
Me: by the time you get to the point where you’re brave enough to ask someone out
you’re doing so because you have good reason to believe they’ll respond well
Kelly: True. True.
Sent at 2:17 PM on Monday
But even if they don’t…it really isn’t the end of the world.
I think it’s also important, when you ask someone out
to be really fucking clear about your intentions.
Kelly: Like, the whole reason you are finding this bravery within yourself is because you can’t bear to not know.
Me: “Hey, maybe we could get together to talk about a project” is not a date
Kelly: So don’t water that down by writing something that could be interpreted as just friendly.
Sent at 2:18 PM on Monday
“Hey, my roommates and I are having a party on Saturday” — also not a date.
me: “Hey, awesome seeing you Saturday. Any interest in getting a drink sometime?” Date!
Sent at 2:19 PM on Monday
Me: “Hey, awesome seeing you Saturday. I might be in the neighborhood this weekend, let me know if you’re around.” Nooooot a date.
Kelly: Not a date. You know, I used to be a reporter but now I work in advertising
Sent at 2:20 PM on Monday
And we talk a lot about a call to action, which is something annoying that ruins your perfect beautiful vision but is still probably necessary.
Asking someone out on a date should contain a call to action. The more specific, the better.
“Hey, it was great seeing you Saturday. Want to grab a drink after work this Friday?”
Me: Genius. Totally a date.
Sent at 2:21 PM on Monday
I bet most people reading this
who aren’t in relationships
have at leeeeast one or two people that they could ask out right NOW
Kelly: Right this minute!
Me: one or two ambiguously flirty relationships
Kelly: Stop reading this interview and go ask someone out!
Sent at 2:22 PM on Monday
Ok, you don’t have to, but still. Do it in the next 24 hours.
Me: Yes! And let us know how it goes!
I bet it will go well for most people.
And then, that’s the thing
like you said
if it DOESN’T, yes, it stings, your pride hurts
But at least you won’t continue to waste time analyzing the gchats or body language of someone who doesn’t want to date you
Sent at 2:23 PM on Monday
Kelly: Right. Like, that takes so much mental energy.
Usually, if I have a serious crush, I am putting more thought into that than less-consequential things, like my job or my family
Shameful, but true.
Me: Oh, absolutely true! And human!
Sent at 2:24 PM on Monday
I think I waste wayyyy more time thinking about crushes than I do when I’m actually in a relationship or dating someone
Kelly: YES. Yes, lady. Like, file that memory away and revisit it often.
Me: Well, Kelly
Kelly: Yes, Chiara.
Me: This has been a very satisfying and informative Geech.
Sent at 2:27 PM on Monday
I’m glad we’re comrades against Casualization
Kelly: Me too. Let us struggle valiantly to restore dating to its prior glory.
There needs to be a propaganda poster about this.
Sent at 2:28 PM on Monday
Good luck on the Adulting launch!
Kelly: Thank you so much! Gchat interviews are the best interviews!
Geech. Geech Geech Geech.